Adaptive significance of the mating of autumn-morph females with non-overwintering summer-morph males in the Japanese Common Grass Yellow, Eurema mandarina (Lepidoptera: Pieridae)

Abstract

Autumn-morph adults of the Japanese Common Grass Yellow, Eurema mandarina (de l’Orza), overwinter with reproductive diapause, while the summer-morph adults do not. A low temperature and short photoperiod induce autumn-morph adults. Because of different critical photoperiods between the sexes, the summer-morph males coexist with the autumn-morph adults in late autumn. While autumn-morph males show little mating activity, mating between summer-morph males and autumn-morph females frequently occurs. Thereafter, mated autumn-morph females re-mate with autumn-morph males the following spring. Two hypotheses, a nuptial gift hypothesis and a risk-hedge hypothesis, explaining the adaptive significance of pre-overwinter copulation by autumn-morph females were examined. Wild autumn-morph females were collected in November, late March, April and early May. The decrease in the number of eggs contained in autumn-morph females indicated that they started oviposition in mid-April. The shape of the spermatophore suggested that autumn-morph females could re-mate with autumn-morph males before mid-April. Although the eupyrene sperm of the summer-morph males remained in the spermatheca just after overwintering, the nuptial gift hypothesis is more plausible than the risk-hedge hypothesis because most females re-mated in the spring before the onset of oviposition. A counter-adaptation of summer-morph males acting as a strategy for mating with autumn-morph females was also discussed.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Dr. T. Yokoi, Assistant Professor, University of Tsukuba, for valuable comments on this research. This work was supported in part by JSPS KAKENHI grant no. 24570019 (MW).

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Correspondence to Mamoru Watanabe.

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Konagaya, T., Watanabe, M. Adaptive significance of the mating of autumn-morph females with non-overwintering summer-morph males in the Japanese Common Grass Yellow, Eurema mandarina (Lepidoptera: Pieridae). Appl Entomol Zool 50, 41–47 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13355-014-0300-0

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Keywords

  • Apyrene sperm
  • Eupyrene sperm
  • Seasonal polyphenism
  • Spermatheca
  • Spermatophore